Sunday, May 6, 2018

D.U.I. (Driving Under Imbecility)

The other day, while my wife and I were on the freeway (she was driving), I noticed that after the person passed us on the left, they drifted partially into our lane then swerved back into their own.

Now, if you were a police officer and witnessed this, you might flash your blue and reds and pull the person over. You might also give the person a breathalyzer test due to the erratic driving. But, most likely, you would not be able to arrest this particular person for driving under the influence of alcohol. You see, as this person was passing us they were looking down at the phone in their lap.

What?!? You mean someone was texting (or Facebooking, or Twittering, or whatevering) while driving?!?

Hard to believe, I know, but true.

In the State of Ohio, it is illegal to use any electronic wireless communications device while driving. If you are over the age of 18 this is considered a secondary law. This means that a police officer has to have another reason to pull a driver over other than texting. If you are under the age of 18 it is a primary law, which means they don’t need another reason to pull you over.

So, if you are weaving or driving erratically a police officer can pull you over. But here is where it gets tricky. Just because you are driving erratically does NOT mean you were texting. You could have been drinking. Or you could have been dealing with Mayhem under your seat.

If the officer smells alcohol on you, they have a few options to prove you were driving under the influence. One of these is a breathalyzer. However, they cannot force you to take a breathalyzer test right there. You can refuse it. Of course, this is much like pleading the Fifth; which makes you “guilty” regardless of the truth.

If, on the other hand, you were texting and driving, it is much more difficult for the officer to prove. First off, they have to have seen you with your phone in your hand. And you are too savvy to get caught doing that. That is why you drive looking at your lap. You aren’t stupid enough to hold the phone up in view. (I’m clearly being sarcastic here.)

What if the officer asks you to hand over your phone? Can they take it to prove whether or not you were using it while you were driving? Nope. A police officer may take your phone if there is reasonable cause, but they may not search the data on the phone without either the driver’s consent OR a warrant.

You see, you have this little thing you can hide behind called “privacy” and there is NO WAY you are going to voluntarily give a police officer the evidence to condemn you for your own stupidity.

And that needs to change right now.

When I was a kid the police cars used to have the words, “To Serve And Protect” emblazoned on them. If those words are true, they should ABSOLUTELY be able to stop a car from driving erratically to protect US.

There should be a simple test available that if a police officer stops you for erratic driving they would be able to TAKE your phone, run the test, and figure out whether or not you’ve been using it. Like a breathalyzer. And if you refuse to hand over your phone, you should IMMEDIATELY be arrested, have your car impounded, and taken to the police station where you can sit and wait for the warrant which would OBVIOUSLY be provided.

Oh, and one major difference between driving under the influence of alcohol and texting: after a period of time the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream will go down - so if you can delay the time between the traffic stop and the breathalyzer long enough, your blood/alcohol level may drop enough to be proven "not guilty". But your phone? Baby, that shtuff is out there FOREVER!

And if you WERE texting and driving?!? That should be a felony charge. You want to put your life at risk? Go to prison. Just don’t stay on the road and put OUR lives at risk.

Make up your damn minds. If you want to text, text. If you want to drive, drive. If that Facebook post is so important, pull your car over and take care of it. Just don’t do both at the same time. Because, regardless of how good a multitasker you think you may be, in reality, you suck at it.

I’m reminded of a Gallagher routine where he thinks we should be driving with those rubber-tipped dart guns we had as a kid. Whenever we see someone driving like an idiot we could lean out and shoot a dart at their car with a flag that says, “IDIOT!” A cop sees you driving down the road with a half-dozen flags on the trunk of your car, they pull you over and give you a ticket for being an A**HOLE!!

For some people, they wouldn’t be able to see past the flags.

© Emittravel 2018

Sunday, April 29, 2018

What’s Your Hurry?

Today (20180429) was sports Sunday here in Cleveland. The Cavaliers played the Pacers in Game 7 of their playoff series, and the Indians played the Mariners in Game 4 of their 4-game series. The Cavaliers pulled a win - taking the series, and the Indians pulled a loss - losing their series 1-4 (good thing it’s only April baseball!)

Recently, much has come from the MLB concerning the speed of the game. Apparently, some think baseball is too slow, and the MLB wants to try different things to speed it up. I’ve written a few times about this already (here and here, for example), so I won’t spend too much time on it in this post. I do want to expand a bit on a Twitter post I wrote recently (follow me at @nocturnecsh):

“00:30 left on the Cavs/Pacers clock. Went to the bathroom. Came back to 00:21. & a clock will speed up #baseball? Who are you kidding @MLB?”

I went to the BATHROOM and only NINE seconds had lapsed on the clock. That’s basketball for you.

Apparently a clock does little to speed the game.

I’m an all-things time related junkie. Favorite time related movie? “Memento”. Favorite time related book? That’s a toss up between H.G. Well’s “The Time Machine” and the Bible. Favorite time related album? Alan Parsons "The Time Machine". Favorite time related sport? That’s easy: BASEBALL! And not because it is “slow”.

When you put yourself in a position to focus solely on the game in front of you, time slows down - and not in a negative way. When the pitcher is on the mound and is looking to his catcher for the best pitch to befuddle the batter, who is watching the pitcher to see what pitch he will throw to try and befuddle him, time ssslllooowwwwsss down. The tension is palpable. Nothing else matters in that moment.

Sure, in football there are all of these guys running around the field when the ball is snapped. In basketball nobody ever STOPS running (except for the clock: which never seems to run at all). But in baseball, the moments before the action are just as important as the moments after the pitch/swing. And you can’t rush that.

Maybe the problem isn’t the pace of the game. It’s us.

It’s amazing to me that people today drive with one hand on the wheel, one holding their smartphone, and both eyes looking anywhere but through the windshield, and yet they drive so close to the car in front of them they think that they have all the time in the world to hit the breaks and come to a stop if needed.

I’m not sure about the state you live in, but here in Ohio we have a little thing called “assured clear distance”. If you ever rear end someone, you’ve been cited for it. It is the failure to maintain an appropriate distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. “Back in my day” (that’s old man speak) that would be one car length for every TEN miles an hour - on dry pavement with clear visibility. The distance is to be greater on wet pavement, more for snow-covered pavement, and at night. This is to allow sufficient time for the person behind to come to a complete stop and not hit the car in front. And yet, people drive right on your bumper like that will allow them to get to their destination that much faster.

So, maybe it’s WE that need to slow down, rather than rush the game of baseball. Because as far as a sport is concerned, baseball is pretty much perfect as is.

© Emittravel 2018

Sunday, April 8, 2018

There Is No Joy In Mudville?

With a two-run walk-off home run, Indians’ catcher, Yan Gomes, secures the home opener series win against the Kansas City Royals. And talk about a celebration at home plate!

Photo: David Richard, USA TODAY Sports (2017)
To be honest, record aside, I’ve been a little worried about my home team. They just have not been playing up to the caliber of the team I’m used to seeing. The bats have not been very hot. And as good as the defense has been at keeping opposing teams from crossing home plate, it takes hot bats to win games.

But that’s not it.

The real reason for my worry is that, from the games I’ve been able to watch, I’ve not seen much joy. You know, like two-run walk-off home run to win a game kind of joy.

I’ll admit, I wouldn't want to be the guy standing in the outfield in 34-degree temperatures either. That kind of chill can . . . chill your attitude. But regardless, there is a joy that the team exudes that I think is the secret ingredient, the Emeril “BAM!” of baseball.

I’ve seen glimpses of it. There was one game where I caught Indian’s short stop Frankie Lindor with his arm around the shoulders of the opposing team’s second baseman - both with big smiles on their faces. THAT joy.

With the beginning of Cleveland Indians baseball, the subject of the removal of Chief Wahoo has been in the news. For those not in the know, the MLB and the Cleveland Indians ownership have come to an agreement to retire the beloved mascot at the beginning of the 2019 season. He will no longer be available on any MLB officially licensed merchandise and no longer diplayed on the players’ uniforms. However, he will still be available in the team shop and on non-official MLB merchandise, and fans can still display him proudly at games. This, as a matter of coincidence(?) lines up with Cleveland hosting the 2019 All-Star Game.

I bring up Chief Wahoo for a reason: In spite of his removal, it is my hope that the joy that the SMILING mascot displayed will not disappear from the club and the fans that support it.

So my desire is that, as the temperatures go up, so does the joy level. Because, regardless of the team’s record, this is NOT Mudville!

© Emittravel 2018

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Stuff My Brain Says #83

A law isn’t a law unless it is enforced.

No matter the topic -  gun control, taxes, even jaw walking - laws are completely meaningless if not enforced.

So, if you are mad about a nineteen year-old being able to purchase a firearm to use in a killing spree in a gun-free school zone, or whether or not President Trump paid his “fair share” of taxes, and you think the solution is more laws, look first at what laws are ALREADY on the books and are not enforced.

You’ll realize that we either need less and more effective laws, or increased enforcement of those that already exist.

Sometimes Congress does its best work when on vacation.

© Emittravel 2018

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Because Science, Stupid!

In my last blog post I presented a simple, effective, and cost-effective solution to the (non-existent) rash of school shootings. (I say “non-existent” rash, because the number of such events have been going DOWN over the years, not increasing.) In this post I want to offer yet another option: one that is backed by science. And you know, if science says it is true, you are the worst form of human being if you disagree.

One recommendation I’ve heard lately is raising the age to permit someone to purchase a firearm (there are many terms floating around as to what that type of firearm would be, but I’m going to just call them firearms) to 21 years old. Apparently, if someone is under the age of 21 they are not “mature” enough to legally own something like that.

That is only partially correct.

Let’s see: 21 years old to purchase a firearm. 21 years old to purchase alcohol. 18 years old to purchase cigarettes (someone want to ask the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms about this discrepancy?). 18 years old to vote for the most powerful position in the United States. And 16 years old to drive a two-ton vehicle at high speeds.

So what does science say? Science says that the hippo-campus, the part of the brain that makes decisions, isn’t fully formed until the age of 25. That means we allow people who are UNABLE to make decisions to drive (there are more deaths by automobile than guns) and decide who the President of the United States should be.

Does anybody else see the problem with that?

Those of us who question the validity of man-made climate change (even though the descriptor “man-made” is often dropped) are considered crackpots, conspiracy theorists, and deniers. Why? Because, according to former President Obama, the science is settled. Therefore, since science tells us that man-made climate change is real, we need to make drastic changes in the way we conduct our lives in order to comply.

But why are we okay with allowing the SETTLED science that states people are UNABLE to make good decisions before the age of 25 the ability to do any of those things I listed above, when they are clearly not capable?

Part of it is political.

I remember the whole “Rock the Vote” during the President Clinton era. Remember when he answered such tough questions on an MTV show, surrounded by teenagers, like “Boxers or briefs?” Yeah. Those are the individuals we want in voting booths.

But that is the thing: politicians do not run on facts, clearly laid out agendas, and policies. They run on emotional manipulation. You know, the area of the brain (amygdala) that is overly developed during the same below-25 period. That’s why politicians want people stupid enough to eat Tide Pods (not to be confused with Pad Thai . . . mmmmm) in the voting booth.

So, the solution is to not allow such major life decisions to individuals under the age of 25. That means no voting, drinking, purchasing firearms, and driving. This time should be used to help those individuals LEARN how to make good decisions, instead of using them to help push agendas (I’m talking to you “anti-NRA” people.)

This would be, like man-made climate change, a drastic change in the way we conduct our lives. And yes, I’m okay with this. Why? Well one: it’s science. And two: I’m over 50.

© Emittravel 2018

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Real Criminal in School Shootings

February 14, 2018. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida. An event that has been a major discussion topic since the tragedy took place.

I’ve listened to both pro and con gun advocates. I’ve heard the outcries for our government to “do something” (though what, is never explicitly determined). And I’m growing deaf to the political grandstanding on both sides - each trying to score points with their “base”.

One such suggestion to “fix” this is to arm teachers. Now, as a pro-2nd Amendment person I have to say that is a DUMB idea. And here is why:

My wife is a public high school teacher. Every year, from about a month BEFORE school starts to about a month AFTER school ends, she belongs to the school and your children. If you do the math, that means I get her for about a month to two months a year. With the pressure of school testing (which, honestly, is really more a rod to punish good teachers rather than educate students), behavioral issues with children (broken, dysfunctional, and non-existent homes), and the ever increasing paperwork to comply with government mandates, what she has on her plate is more than enough for some “arm everyone” gun advocate to put yet ANOTHER thing on her plate.

I’m going to give you a fix for the school shooting problem. And it won’t cost schools a dime. That means no additional (unarmed) guards roaming the halls, no additional metal detectors, or locking the building doors while class is in session (wasn’t that what got Joe Clark in trouble? “Stand By Me” reference.). All schools have to do is remove the following sign:

That’s it. Period.

The beauty of this is that you don’t have to go about arming teachers. You will give teachers who are ALREADY armed permission to carry. And the real beauty of Concealed Carry is that no one knows WHO is armed and WHO is not. And it is THAT which will keep students (and everyone else) safe.

Every malcontent that arms himself and goes into a school is NOT insane. They are rational beings. BECAUSE they are going into gun-free zones to do their shooting proves it. And if/when these bastards have been captured, the “temporary insanity” excuse should be thrown out the window!

I blame the anti-2nd Amendment IDIOTS who created the whole “gun-free zone” bullsh*t for EVERY person who has been harmed in a shooting IN THOSE ZONES. That’s right. Your “fear” killed those people. YOU created an environment that gives PERMISSION to people to come in and start shooting.

It’s not that we need everyone to be armed. We need to allow those who desire to do so to do so. That element of the unknown will do more to protect than any law that only impedes law abiding citizens.

And before you tell me we need just one more law to protect us, consider this: it is ILLEGAL to murder. Apparently, those who will break that law really don’t give a rat’s ass about any other law you may come up with. That’s why they are called “law BREAKERS”! If a person is willing to break THAT law, do you really think an additional waiting period, or keeping guns out of the hands of supposedly mental unstable people will fix it?

Stop being an idiot.

© Emittravel 2018

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Guess You Can’t Call the MLB Racist

They finally did it. After many years of whining by a VERY tiny minority, Major League Baseball has finally put the kibosh on the Cleveland Indian’s mascot - Chief Wahoo.

Starting in 2019, the Cleveland Indians will no longer display Chief Wahoo on their uniforms. Not only that, but the MLB will no longer sell any merchandise with the Chief Wahoo logo. The Chief is still welcome in the stands and will be available at the team shop, but the MLB will no longer “officially” recognize the long-loved mascot.

My feelings concerning Chief Wahoo have been expressed previously. If you want to read about some history and my reasonings why we should KEEP Chief Wahoo, please take a few moments to read it (or, hopefully, REread it!)

As far as the why, I think that is pretty self-evident: Cleveland has been granted the privilege of being home to the All-Star Game in 2019. Coincidence? I think not. I think that the only way Cleveland was granted the honor was IF they allowed for the “retirement” of the mascot.

Now, there are people who like the block “C” logo, and people who don’t. Not to sound like an advertisement - which this is NOT - but there IS a very tasteful alternative. GV Art & Design has come up with a design that removes the Chief, without removing the heart:

Classy, tasteful, and very Cleveland!
If you want to read more, check out this brief article from a local Cleveland station:

I could go into a tirade over the fact that the minority voice is calling the shots in our society, regardless of what the majority thinks. I could talk about the fact that there is a generation (or two) with VERY thin skin out there. I could mention that trying to rewrite history does not make it better. I could even mention the 1st Inning of the Ken Burns’ documentary “Baseball” that proved how the racism of a MINORITY of white players kept black players from being a part of the MLB for YEARS.

But I won’t. I’ve got too much class (NOT!)

But I will say that I’m sure the MLB will be very happy with the loss of revenue from Chief Wahoo merchandise sales (sarcasm font). Because, the MLB is NOT racist. And neither am I. And if you think that because I’m wearing Chief Wahoo that I am? You are wrong.

And an idiot.

© Emittravel 2018